US Capitol fence to return ahead of protest supporting January 6 rioters
Police will reinstall a tall fence around the US Capitol ahead of next week's planned rally by supporters of the roughly 600 people charged in connection with the deadly January 6 riot involving backers of former President Donald Trump, two sources familiar with the plan said on Thursday.
The fence was erected following the riot and was taken down in July, six months later. It will go back up ahead of the scheduled September 18 "Justice for J6" rally in support of the people facing a range of criminal charges stemming from the violence, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
One of the sources, a Democratic congressional aide, said information has been collected indicating several right-wing groups are planning to participate in the rally and might be "targeting policemen." The groups could include the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, the aide said.
The January 6 rioters had sought to block Congress from formally certifying President Joe Biden's 2020 election victory over Trump, who made false claims of widespread voting fraud. Rioters fought with police, beating some officers, as they smashed their way into the Capitol, sending lawmakers and then-Vice President Mike Pence fleeing for safety.
Four people died on the day of the riot, one fatally shot by police and three from medical emergencies. A Capitol Police officer who had been attacked by protesters died the following day. Four police officers who took part in the defense of the Capitol later committed suicide.
The permit for next week's rally specifies a maximum of 500 people gathering at the Capitol but more are expected, according to the congressional aide.
The US Capitol Police said in a statement on Wednesday, that a "robust security posture" is planned for the rally that will include a beefed-up security presence.
The two sources said they did not know whether National Guard troops would be deployed as well. Around 20,000 troops were sent to the Capitol complex after local law enforcement officers were overwhelmed by the January 6 rioters.
The September 18 rally comes on a Saturday during a congressional recess. Most lawmakers are expected to be in their home states or traveling elsewhere.